Article

Gender and Crime

Sally S. Simpson

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online December 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0052
Gender and Crime

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In Western cultures, gender and crime, as a subject of intellectual curiosity, did not gain much attention until the late 1960s and the 1970s. Previously, female offenders were an object of curiosity, often understood and treated as an aberration to their sex. As a consequence of the women’s movement, female offenders and, in particular, female victims of male violence, moved front-and-center in the field of criminology. Feminists played a key role in this emergence, launching critical assessments of the field’s neglect, both in terms of empirical research and theoretical developments. These efforts produced a solid body of scholarship that led nonfeminist researchers to acknowledge that gender is a critical factor (some argue “the” critical variable) that distinguishes who participates in crime and who does not. Over time, scholarship shifted away from “women” as a category in favor of intersectional approaches (i.e., gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality), a focus on gender differences, and postmodern theorizing (e.g., discourse analysis, rejection of structure, sexed bodies). Nonetheless, debates about how best to study gender (positivism versus other epistemological approaches), whether males and females have distinct pathways into crime (including violence and the potential link between early victimization and the risk of later criminality and victimization), and the impact of crime prevention policies such as mandatory arrest on female victims remain unresolved.

Article.  6701 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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